Yan­gon to be hit with more black­outs

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - YE MON yeemon­tun@mm­times.com

Due to de­cayed power lines, a surging de­mand for elec­tric­ity and a con­strained bud­get, the com­mer­cial cap­i­tal will face the an­nual short­falls, with the govern­ment beckpedalling on pledges to meet hot sea­son quo­tas.

GET ready for the black­outs. A re­gional min­is­ter has ac­knowl­edged that de­cayed pow­er­lines and a surging de­mand for elec­tric­ity will once again leave the com­mer­cial cap­i­tal in the dark.

Yan­gon Elec­tric­ity Sup­ply Cor­po­ra­tion had hoped a hand­ful of patch­work mea­sures would help boost the sup­ply but the lofty tar­gets and mer­cu­rial prom­ises of no more cuts have again evap­o­rated in the face of the daunt­ing task.

Daw Ni­lar Kyaw, the re­gional min­is­ter for elec­tric­ity, in­dus­try and transportation, said yes­ter­day that while the re­gional govern­ment is try­ing to sup­ply enough elec­tric­ity, dis­tri­bu­tion is ham­pered by the govern­ment’s bud­get.

Af­ter rainy sea­son ends, Yan­gon will con­front its an­nual prob­lem of in­suf­fi­cient elec­tric­ity. And to make mat­ters worse, the govern­ment is un­able to guar­an­tee enough power to avoid the an­nual hot sea­son shortage, the min­is­ter told par­lia­ment yes­ter­day.

Daw Ni­lar Kyaw was re­spond­ing in par­lia­ment to a ques­tion from law­maker Daw Soe Pa Pa Hlaing (NLD; Pabe­dan) about the govern­ment’s prepa­ra­tions for hot sea­son.

Last year, the on­set of a spell of fre­quent black­outs in Yan­gon and other ur­ban cen­tres co­in­cided with the swear­ing-in of the Na­tional League for Democ­racy govern­ment in late March, pre­sent­ing one of the first of sev­eral legacy chal­lenges to the fledg­ling lead­er­ship. The re­cur­rent black­outs tested the patience of a pub­lic that has en­dured power short­ages for decades.

Last month, the Union min­is­ter for elec­tric­ity and en­ergy had pledged an end to the black­outs ex­ac­er­bat­ing April’s blis­ter­ing hear, and said that the to­tal power gen­er­ated in 2017 would ex­ceed the de­mand be­fore hot sea­son kicks in. But re­gional min­is­ter Daw Ni­lar Kyaw backpedalled the boast, say­ing cuts would be forth­com­ing be­cause of both trans­mis­sion is­sues and a scrapped coal fac­tory.

Cur­rently, Yan­gon is sup­plied 300 megawatts of power per day through a con­sor­tium con­sist­ing of lo­cal com­pa­nies Na­tional In­fra­struc­ture Hold­ings and MCM Pa­cific, and US com­pa­nies APR En­ergy and Ace Re­sources Group. Ten com­pa­nies are re­spon­si­ble for dis­tribut­ing elec­tric­ity to 15 of the re­gion’s town­ships.

“Al­though we have se­lected com­pa­nies, we still need to im­prove in­fra­struc­ture for elec­tric­ity trans­mis­sion and dis­tri­bu­tion. This in­fra­struc­ture de­pends on our bud­get,” Daw Ni­lar Kyaw said.

She added that a coal fac­tory that was slated to pro­duce elec­tric­ity for Kyauk­tan town­ship has been can­celled af­ter pub­lic back­lash.

“The Yan­gon Re­gion govern­ment won’t build the coal fac­tory af­ter the peo­ple made their ob­jec­tion clear,” she said.

YESC of­fi­cials an­nounced in May that Yan­gon is re­spon­si­ble for half the coun­try’s elec­tric­ity use, with the re­gion ex­pected to con­sume be­tween 1350 and 1400MW in the com­ing year.

Yan­gon Re­gion Chief Min­is­ter U Phyo Min Thin told par­lia­ment yes­ter­day that there are 61 en­gines and tur­bines op­er­at­ing un­der state and pri­vately owned com­pa­nies in Yan­gon which can pro­duce more than 400MW.

The coun­try’s to­tal elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion last sum­mer ex­ceeded 2730MW, while all power sta­tions gen­er­ated 2450MW com­bined, ac­cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties.

Photo: Aung Khant

De­cayed power lines ham­per ef­fi­cient trans­mis­sion, con­tribut­ing to the black­outs.

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